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Friday, October 06, 2006

Final line-up set for next month's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Brazil

This year's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup moved a tantalising step closer to reality when the final qualifiers were completed in Durban (South Africa), last weekend.

The draw for the event in Rio de Janeiro has produced some very exciting match-ups, not least in Group B where holders France will play current European champions Spain as well as Iran and Canada in the toughest-looking section. Italy, Bahrain, Argentina and African newcomers Nigeria also make for a formidable line-up in Group D, with the Argentines' meeting with Nigeria opening the tournament on the famous Copacabana beach on 2 November 2006.

In Group A, hosts Brazil will be looking to set the record straight after last year's semi-final exit, when they take on the surprising third-place finishers in this year's European finals, Poland, along with the USA and the fourth-placed team from the 2005 Beach Soccer World Cup, Japan. Finally, the Solomon Islands will kick off their maiden campaign in a FIFA tournament against African champions Cameroon, before facing Uruguay and Portugal. The Solomon Islands' 6-2 victory over Vanuatu in the final of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) qualifying tournament sealed a place in history for the team described as the 'Brazilians of the South Pacific'. Not only did it give them a place among the best 16 teams battling it out for the title in Rio, but it also made the Solomon Islands the first team other than Australia and New Zealand to qualify for a FIFA event from the OFC. Now they have the opportunity to show their potential against the best in the world on the famous Copacabana beach when they start their campaign on 2 November in the final match of the opening day of the competition.

Source: FIFA

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